Wednesday, July 20, 2016
CFL THIS WEEK PRESENTED BY DRAFTKINGS
It's the second meeting in three weeks between the two as Calgary (1-1-1) captured a 36-22 home decision July 1. The Stampeders have been off since a 26-26 tie in Ottawa on July 8. Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was 29-of-43 passing for 268 yards and two TDs in that contest. Winnipeg (1-3) is coming off a hard-luck 20-16 loss to Edmonton as Eskimos starter Mike Reilly threw for 465 yards and two TDs. Bombers' starter Drew Willy will remain under centre after completing 25-of-38 passing for 299 yards and a touchdown but also throwing two interceptions.
Pick - Calgary
OTTAWA (3-0-1) AT SASKATCHEWAN (0-3), FRIDAY
Now it's Chris Jones's turn to try and ground Trevor Harris and the Ottawa Redblacks' high-powered offence.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach will have his hands full with Harris and his dangerous complement of receivers when the Redblacks visit the Roughriders on Friday.
Since replacing injured incumbent Henry Burris in Ottawa's season-opening win over Edmonton, Harris has been nearly unstoppable. He's leading the CFL in passing yards (1,475), completion percentage (82.5), touchdowns (nine) and passing efficiency (140.1) while throwing just one interception.
For three games, Chris Williams was Harris's favourite target. He was the CFL's leading receiver heading into last week's action with 25 catches for 493 yards and six TDs.
But on Wednesday night, it was James Ellingson who stepped from Williams's shadow. The lanky receiver had nine catches for 218 yards and was a key figure in Ottawa's 30-20 road win over Toronto, which left the Redblacks (3-0-1) as the league's top team and its only unbeaten squad.
Williams continues to lead the CFL in receiving (31 catches, 556 yards, six TDs) with Ellingson (25 catches, 439 yards, one TD) standing second.
Harris completed 28-of-31 passes (league-record 90.3 per cent) for 392 yards against the Argos, his former team. He also ran for a TD, set up by a 77-yard completion to Ellingson to the Toronto one-yard line.
Harris has no shortage of weapons at his disposal. Williams and Ellingson are just two of four Ottawa receivers who surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau last season. The others were Brad Sinopoli - the CFL's top Canadian in 2015 - and Earnest Jackson.
And all four are back with Ottawa this year, again creating coverage nightmares for opposing defences.
The Riders (0-3) are still seeking their first win under Jones, hired to rebuild a 3-15 Saskatchewan squad this off-season after leading Edmonton to a Grey Cup title.
What's more, quarterback Darian Durant left Saskatchewan's 40-27 loss to the B.C. Lions with a sprained ankle. Durant had suffered season-ending injuries in each of the last two years for the Riders.
Compounding matters is Ottawa's road prowess this season. All three of the Redblacks' wins have come away from TD Place. The Riders, on the other hand, are 0-2 at Mosaic Stadium.
Pick - Ottawa
HAMILTON (2-2) AT EDMONTON (2-1), SATURDAY
Mike Reilly might be the one to make the Eskimos (2-1) go offensively but receivers Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker are both key cogs. Bowman, the CFL's top receiver last year, had 10 catches for 185 yards in the win over Winnipeg while Walker, the league's outstanding rookie in 2015, added seven receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown. After allowing an average of over 40 points over the club's first two games, the Eskimos' defence forced three fumbles and had two interceptions against the Bombers. Hamilton (2-2) is coming off a 31-7 road win over Montreal to boost its record away from Tim Hortons Field to 2-0.
Pick - Edmonton
MONTREAL (1-2) AT TORONTO (2-2), MONDAY
The Argos (2-2) haven't exactly enjoyed home-field advantage at BMO Field. They're 0-2 at their new home venue after dropping a 30-20 decision to Ottawa last week. Toronto started off well, surging into an early 13-0 lead but Tristan Jackson delivered the decisive blow for the Redblacks with a 75-yard punt return TD that broke a 20-20 tie in the fourth quarter. Montreal (1-2) is coming off a 31-7 home loss to Hamilton after being outscored 26-3 in the second half, thanks in part to Brandon Banks' 86-yard punt return TD. Starter Kevin Glenn didn't play due to an inflamed eye.
Pick - Toronto
Last week: 3-1
Overall record: 5-10-1
(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)